Guest Reviewer: Brad Wheeler, music writer for the Globe and Mail

Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite 100 Years of Blues Alligator Records

Nobody should look to veteran guitarist Elvin Bishop and old-timer harmonica blower Charlie Musselwhite for political blues music, nor should they. What they present on 100 Years of Blues, set to drop Sept. 25, is reliable entertainment of the front-porch, down-home, shoot-the-electric-breeze kind.
The exception is What the Hell?, a lumbering, well-meaning statement on the state of a divided nation. “How could a good thing go so wrong,” Bishop wonders, in his scratchy, country-boy howl. The song is anti-Trump but simplistic. Bishop’s “good thing” wasn’t everybody’s good thing. He lived through the Civil Rights movement, right?
Otherwise these two well-established fogies are on firm ground, switching vocals on and off on uncomplicated material that is born to give. The title track is a re-recording of a song originally heard on Bishop’s Big Fun Trio album from 2017. It’s autobiographical, welcoming and explanatory.
That’s Bishop bemoaning modern times on the light-hearted Old School. Musselwhite misses things bygone on the slow-moving Good Times.
The old man’s lament continues on the piano-at-sunset Blues for Yesterday: “Times were tough, but we had fun.” With Bishop beside him, a laconic Musselwhite wistfully sings about having had “one good run.” He should consider himself fortunate. Many weren’t so lucky.

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